New York, Sep 20 2012 5:10PM
The top United Nations political official for Somalia today condemned suicide attacks in the Horn of Africa nation's capital, and called for the country's progress towards stability to remain on course.
"I strongly condemn this cowardly and senseless attack. These acts of terrorism cannot reverse the recent achievements that Somalia has witnessed – such incidents can only reinforce the determination of the Somali people to reject violence and engage in peaceful resolution of conflict," the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), Augustine P. Mahiga, said in a <"http://unpos.unmissions.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=x0QwkvaqZSA%3d&tabid=9705&mid=12667&language=en-US">news release.
According to initial media reports, suicide bombers set off at least two explosions at a popular restaurant in Mogadishu on Thursday, killing at least a dozen people, including journalists and police officers. So far, reportedly, no group had claimed responsibility for the blasts.
After decades of warfare, Somalia has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with a series of landmark steps over recent weeks helping bring an end to the Horn of Africa nation's eight-year political transition period. These steps included the adoption of a provisional constitution, the establishment of a new parliament and the selection of a new president.
"This attack coming at a time when the people have resoundingly welcomed a popular process towards attaining more legitimate and representative institutions is an affront to the will of the Somali people and an attack on the return of normalcy to Somalia," Mr. Mahiga said. "We will not let the hard-won momentum towards stability be affected by such events."
The African nation is still dealing with the impact of the Al Shabaab militant group, which has been pushed out of the capital, but still controls parts of Somalia, primarily in its south-central regions.
While the efforts of Government forces, supported by troops from the UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), have led to Al Shabaab militants withdrawing from open combat in Mogadishu, the use of roadside bombs, grenades and suicide bombers still take place.
In addition to expressing his condolences to the families of those killed and wishing a rapid recovery to the injured, Mr. Mahiga also called on the perpetrators of the attacks to abandon practices that inflict "enormous suffering" on innocent civilians and show no respect for human life.
"UNPOS reiterates its support to the Somali people and is determined to work closely with the new administration in order to support Somalia on its course to peace and stability," the Special Representative added.